Newspaper article China Post

Extramarital Sex May Be Bad, but It Should Not Be a Crime

Newspaper article China Post

Extramarital Sex May Be Bad, but It Should Not Be a Crime

Article excerpt

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If Taiwan's adultery law makes you feel awkward, you should know that there is little chance to see any improvements in the near future. According to a new survey commissioned by the Ministry of Justice ([...]), 82 percent of Taiwanese support legal provisions against adultery, making the Republic of China one the few non-Muslim countries where an adultery conviction can earn you a jail sentence.

Luckily you won't be the only one to object that extramarital sex is not a social crime, but what can Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai ([...]) and other opponents do against the foolishness of mob justice?

Lung made the comments in March at a Cabinet meeting after hearing a report made by the Ministry of Justice on the government's efforts to promote human rights, but she has failed so far to foster public debate on whether cheating should be considered a "civil disturbance," like stated in the country's Publication Law and Criminal Code.

The Apple Daily ([...]), which quoted the survey, announced that 86 percent of respondents consider it reasonable to penalize adultery under criminal law, while 85 percent believe that penalizing adultery doesn't conflict with one's freedom of action.

According to Article 239 of the Criminal Code, a married person who commits adultery shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year, with the other party subject to the same punishment. In practice, only a few people are jailed as the sentence is usually commutable to a fine of around NT$900 for each day of jail time handed out.

Although adultery is morally or ethically bad, there is something wrong in the criminal law dealing with extramarital sex as adultery is not a social crime like prostitution, gambling, drug production and use, or child pornography, to name just a few.

To begin with, the state shouldn't meddle in which sex partner we should have and why - that's too much. …

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